George MacDonald.

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struck me that I had never done as I had promised
Judy ; had never found out what her aunt's name meant
in Anglo-Saxon. I would do so now. I got down my
dictionary, and soon discovered that Ethelwyn meant
Jfome-ji>y, or Inheritance.

" A lovely meaning," I said to myself.

And then I went off into another reverie, with the
composition of which I shall not trouble my reader; and
with the mention of which I had, perhaps, no right to
occupy the fragment of his time spent in reading it, see-
ing I did not intend to tell him how it was made up. I
will tell him something else instead.


Several families had asked me to take my Christmas
dinner with them ; but, not liking to be thus limited, I
had answered each that I would not, if they would
excuse me, but would look in some time or other in the
course of the evening.

When my half-hour was out, I got up and filled my
pockets with little presents for my poor people, and set
out to find them in their own homes.

I was variously received, but unvaryingly with kind-
ness ; and my little presents were accepted, at least in
most instances, with a gratitude which made me ashamed
of them and of myself too for a few moments. Mrs
Tomkins looked as if she had never seen so much tea
together before, though there was only a couple of
pounds of it ; and her husband received a pair of warm
trousers none the less cordially that they were not quite
new, the fact being that I found I did not myself need
such warm clothing this winter as I had needed the last.
I did not dare to offer Catherine Weir anything, but I
gave her little boy a box of water-colours in remem-
brance of the first time I saw him, though I said nothing
about that. His mother did not thank me. She told
little Gerard to do so, however, and that was something.
And, indeed, the boy's sweetness would have been enough
for both.

Gerard an unusual name in England ; specially not
to be looked for in the class to which she belonged.

When I reached Old Rogers's cottage, whither I carried
a few yards of ribbon, bought by myself, I assure my
lady friends, with the special object that the colour


should be bright enough for her taste, and pure enough
cf its kind for mine, as an offering to the good dame,
and a small hymn-book, in which were some hymns of
my own making, for the good man

But do forgive me, friends, for actually describing my
paltry presents. I can dare to assure you it comes from
a talking old man's love of detail, and from no admira-
tion of such small givings as those. You see I trust
you, and I want to stand well with you. I never could
be indifferent to what people thought of me : though I
have had to fight hard to act as freely as if I were in-
different, especially when upon occasion I found myself
approved of. It is more difficult to walk straight then,
than when men are all against you. As I have already
broken a sentence, which will not be past setting for a
while yet, I may as well go on to say here, lest any one
should remark that a clergyman ought not to show off
his virtues, nor yet teach his people bad habits by mak
ing them look out for presents that my income not
only seemed to me disproportioned to the amount of
labour necessary in the parish, but certainly was larger
than I required to spend upon myself; and the miserly
passion for books I contrived to keep a good deal in
check ; for I had no fancy for gliding devil-wards for the
sake of a few books after all. So there was no great
virtue was there? in easing my heart by giving a few
of the good things people give their children to my poor
friends, whose kind reception of them gave me as much
pleasure as the gifts gave them. They valued the kind-


ness in the gift, and to look out for kindness will not
make people greedy.

When I reached the cottage, I found not merely Jane
there with her father and mother, which was natural on
Christmas Day, seeing there seemed to be no company
at the Hall, but my little Judy as well, sitting in the old
woman's arm-chair, (not that she used it much, but it
was called hers,) and looking as much at home as as
she did in the pond.

" Why* J U( ty !" I exclaimed, "you here?"

" Yes. Why not, Mr Walton?" she returned, holding
out her hand without rising, for the chair was such a
large one, and she was set so far back in it that the
easier way was not to rise, which, seeing she was not
greatly overburdened with reverence, was not, I presume,
a cause of much annoyance to the little damsel.

" I know no reason why I shouldn't see a Sandwich
Islander here. Yet I might express surprise if I did
find one, might I not i"

Judy pretended to pout, and muttered something
about comparing her to a cannibal. But Jane took up
the explanation.

" Mistress had to go off to London with her mother
to-day, sir, quite unexpected, on some banking busi-
ness, I fancy, from what I 1 beg your pardon, sir.

They're gone anyhow, whatever the reason may be;
and so I came to see my father and mother, and Miss
Judy would come with me."

" She 's very welcome," said Mrs Rogers,


" How could I stay up there with nobody but Jacob,
and that old wolf Sarah ? I wouldn't be left alone with
her for the world. She 'd have me in the Bishop's Pool
before you came back, Janey dear."

" That wouldn't matter much to you, would it, Judy?"
I said.

"She's a white wolf, that old Sarah, I know?" was
all her answer.

" But what will the old lady say when she finds you
brought the young lady here?" asked Mrs Rogers.

" I didn't bring her, mother. She would come."

" Besides, she '11 never know it," said Judy.

I did not see that it was my part to read Judy a
lecture here, though perhaps I might have done so if I
had had more influence over her than I had. I wanted
to gain some influence over her, and knew that the way
to render my desire impossible of fulfilment would be,
to find fault with what in her was a very small affair,
whatever it might be in one who had been properly
brought up. Besides, a clergyman is not a moral police-
man. So I took no notice of the impropriety.

" Had they actually to go away on the morning of
Christmas Day?" I said.

" They went anyhow, whether they had to do it or not,
sir," answered Jane.

" Aunt Ethelwyn didn't want to go till to-morrow,"
said Judy. " She said something about coming to church
this morning. But grannie said they must go at once.
It was very cross of old grannie. Think what a Christ-
mas Day to me without auntie, and with Sarah ! But I


don't mean to go home till it 's quite dark. I mean to
stop here with dear Old Rogers that I do."

The latch was gently lifted, and in came young
Brownrigg. So I thought it was time to leave my best
Christmas wishes and take myself away. Old Rogers
came with me to the mill-stream as usual.

"It 'mazes me, sir," he said, " a gentleman o' your
age and bringin' up to know all that you tould us this
mornin'. It 'ud be no wonder now for a man like me,
come to be the shock o' corn fully ripe leastways yal-
low and white enough outside if there bean't much more
than milk inside it yet, it 'ud be no mystery for a man
like me who 'd been brought up hard, and tossed about
well-nigh all the world over why, there 's scarce a wave
on the Atlantic but knows Old Rogers!"

He made the parenthesis with a laugh, and began

" It 'ud be a shame of a man like me not to know all
as you said this mornin', sir leastways I don't mean
able to say it right off as you do, sir ; but not to know
it, after the Almighty had been at such pains to beat it
into my hard head just to trust in Him and fear no-
thing and nobody captain, bosun, devil, sunk rock, or
breakers ahead ; but just to mind Him and stand by hal-
liard, brace, or wheel, or hang on by the leeward caring
for that matter. For, you see, what does it signify whe-
ther I go to the bottom or not, so long as I didn't skulk ?
or rather," and here the old man took off his hat and
looked up, " so long as the Great Captain has His way,
and things is done to His mind ? But how ever a man


like you, goin' to the college, and readin' books, and
warm o' nights, and never, by your own confession this
blessed mornin', sir, knowin' what it was to be downright
hungry, how ever you come to know all those things, is
iust past my comprehension, except by a double portion
o' the Spirit, sir. And that 's the way I account for it,

Although I knew enough about a ship to understand
the old man, I am not sure that I have properly repre-
sented his sea-phrase. But that is of small consequence,
so long as I give his meaning. And a meaning can oc-
casionally be even better conveyed by less accurate words.

" 1 will try to tell you how I come to know about
these things as I do," I returned. " How my knowledge
may stand the test of further and severer trials remains
to be seen. But if I should fail any time, old friend, and
neither trust in God nor do my duty, what I have said
to you remains true all the same."

" That it do, sir, whoever may come short."

" And more than that : failure does not necessarily
prove any one to be a hypocrite of no faith. He may
be still a man of little faith."

" Surely, surely, sir. I remember once that my faith
broke down just for one moment, sir. And then the
Lord gave me my way lest I should blaspheme Him in
my wicked heart"

" How was that, Rogers'?"

" A scream came from the quarter-deck, and then the
cry : ' Child overboard !' There was but one child, the
captain's, aboard. I was sitting just aft the foremast,


herring-boning a split in a spare jib. I sprang to the
bulwark, and there, sure enough, was the child, going
fast astarn, but pretty high in the water. How it hap-
pened I can't think to this day, sir, but I suppose my
needle, in the hurry, had got into my jacket, so as to
skewer it to my jersey, for we were far south of the line
at the time, sir, and it was cold. However that may be,
as soon as I was overboard, which you may be sure
didn't want the time I take tellin' of it, I found that I
ought to ha* pulled my jacket off afore I gave the bul-
wark the last kick. So I rose on the water, and began
to pull it over my head for it was wide, and that was
the easiest way, I thought, in the water. But when I
had got it right over my head, there it stuck. And there
was I, blind as a Dutchman in a fog, and in as strait a
jacket as ever poor wretch in Bedlam, for I could only
just wag my flippers. Mr Walton, I believe I swore
the Lord forgive me ! but it was trying. And what was
far worse, for one moment I disbelieved in Him ; and I
do say that's worse than swearing in a hurry I mean.
And that moment something went, the jacket was off,
and there was I feelin' as if every stroke I took was as
wide as the mainyard. I had no time to repent, only to
thank God. And wasn't it more than I deserved, sir?
Ah ! He can rebuke a man for unbelief by giving him
the desire of his heart. And that's a better rebuke than
tying him up to the gratings.''

" And did you save the child!"

" Oh yes, sir."

" And wasn't the captain pleased t"


" I believe he was, sir. He gave me a glass o' grog,
sir. But you was a sayin' of something, sir, when I in-
terrupted of you."

" I am very glad you did interrupt me."

" I 'm not though, sir. I Ve lost summat I '11 never
hear more."

" No, you shan't lose it. I was going to tell you how
I think I came to understand a little about the things I
was talking of to-day."

" That 's it, sir ; that 's it. Well, sir, if you please V

" You Ve heard of Sir Philip Sidney, haven't you, Old
Rogers ? "

" He was a great joker, wasn't he, sir 1 "

" No, no ; you 're thinking of Sydney Smith, Rogers."

" It may be, sir. I am an ignorant man."

" You are no more ignorant than you ought to be. '
But it is time you should know him, for he was just one
of your sort. I will come down some evening and tell
you about him."

I may as well mention here that this led to week-
evening lectures in the barn, which, with the help of
Weir the carpenter, was changed into a comfortable
room, with fixed seats all round it, and plenty of cane-
chairs besides for I always disliked forms in the middle
of a room. The object of these lectures was to make
the people acquainted with the true heroes of their
own country men great in themselves. And the kind
of choice I made may be seen by those who know about
both, from the fact that, while my first two lectures were
on Philip Sidney, I did not give one whole lecture even


to Walter Raleigh, grand fellow as he was. I wanted
chiefly to set forth the men that could rule themselves,
first of all, after a noble fashion. But I have not finished
these lectures yet, for I never wished to confine them
to the English heroes ; I am going on still, old man as
I am not however without retracing passed ground
sometimes, for a new generation has come up since I
came here, and there is a new one behind coming up
now which I may be honoured to present in its turn to
some of this grand company this cloud of witnesses to
the truth in our own and other lands, some of whom
subdued kingdoms, and others were tortured to death,
for the same cause and with the same result.

" Meantime," I went on, " I only want to toll you
one little thing he says in a letter to a younger brother
whom he wanted to turn out as fine a fellow as possible.
It is about horses, or rather, riding for Sir Philip was
the best horseman in Europe in his clay, as, indeed, all
things taken together, he seems to have really been the
most accomplished man generally of his time in the
world. Writing to this brother he says "

I could not repeat the words exactly to Old Rogers,
but I think it better to copy them exactly, in writing
this account of our talk :

" At horsemanship, when you exercise it, read Crison
Claudio, and a book that is called La Gloria dtf Carallo,
withal that you may join the thorough contemplation of
it with the exercise ; and so shall you profit more in a
month than others in a year."

" I think I see what you mean. sir. I had got to


learn it all without book, as it were, though you know I
had my old Bible, that my mother gave me, and without
that I should not have learned it at all"

" I only mean it comparatively, you know. You have
had more of the practice, and I more of the theory.
But if we had not both had both, we should neither of
us have known anything about the matter. I never was
content without trying at least to understand things ; and
if they are practical things, and you try to practise them
at the same time as far as you do understand them, there
is no end to the way in which the one lights up the other.
I suppose that is how, without your experience, I have
more to say about such things than you could expect.
You know besides that a small matter in which a prin-
ciple is involved will reveal the principle, if attended to,
just as well as a great one containing the same principle.
The only difference, and that a most important one, is
that, though I Ve got my clay and my straw together,
and they stick pretty well as yet, my brick, after all, is
not half so well baked as yours, old friend, and it may
crumble away yet, though I hope not."

" I pray God to make both our bricks into stones of
the New Jerusalem, sir. I think I understand you quite
well. To know about a thing is of no use, except you
do it. Besides, as I found out when I went to sea, you
never can know a thing till you do do it, though I thought
I had a tidy fancy about some things beforehand. It 's
better not to be quite sure that all your seams are
caulked, and so to keep a look-out on the bilge-pump ;
isn't it, sir 1 "


During the most of this conversation, we were stand-
ing by the mill-water, half frozen over. The ice from
both sides came towards the middle, leaving an empty
space between, along which the dark water showed
itself, hurrying away as if in fear of its life from the
white death of the frost The wheel stood motionless,
and the drip from the thatch of the mill over it in
the sun, had frozen in the shadow into icicles, which
hung in long spikes from the spokes and the floats,
making the wheel soft green and mossy when it revolved
in the gentle sun-mingled summer-water look like its
own gray skeleton now. The sun was getting low, and
I should want all my time to see my other friends before
dinner, for I would not willingly offend Mrs Pearson on
Christmas Day by being late, especially as I guessed
she was using extraordinary skill to prepare me a more
than comfortable meal.

" I must go, Old Rogers," I said ; " but I will leave
you something to think about till we meet again. Find
out why our Lord was so much displeased with the
disciples, whom He knew to be ignorant men, for not
knowing what He meant when He warned them against
the leaven of the Pharisees. I want to know what you
think about it. You'll find the story told both in the
sixteenth chapter of St Matthew and the eighth of St

" Well, sir, I '11 try ; that is, if you will tell me what
you think about it afterwards, so as to put me right, if
1 'm wrong."

" Of course I will, if I can find out an explanation


to satisfy me. But it is not at all clear to me now. In
fact, I do not see the connecting links of our Lord's
logic in the rebuke He gives them."

" How am I to find out then, sir knowing nothing
of logic at all ? " said the old man, his rough worn face
summered over with his child-like smile.

" There are many things which a little learning, while
it cannot really hide them, may make you less ready to
see all at once," I answered, shaking hands with Old
Rogers, and then springing across the brook with my
carpet-bag in my hand.

By the time I had got through the rest of my calls, the
fogs were rising from the streams and the meadows to
close in upon my first Christmas Day in my own parish.
How much happier I was than when I came such a few
months before ! The only pang I felt that day was as I
passed the monsters on the gate leading to Oldcastle
Hall. Should I be honoured to help only the poor of
the flock ] Was I to do nothing for the rich, for whom
it is, and has been, and doubtless will be so hard to enter
into the kingdom of heaven 1 And it seemed to me at
the moment that the world must be made for the poor :
they had so much more done for them to enable them to
inherit it than the rich had. To these people at the
Hall, I did not seem acceptable. I might in time do
something with Judy, but the old lady was still so dread-
fully repulsive to me that it troubled my conscience to
feel how I disliked her. Mr Stoddart seemed nothing
more than a dilettante in religion, as well as in the arts
and sciences music always excepted; while for Miss


Oldcastle, I simply did not understand her yet And
she was so beautiful ! I thought her more beautiful
every time I saw her. But I never appeared to make
the least progress towards any real acquaintance with her
thoughts and feelings. It seemed to me, I say, for a
moment, coming from the houses of the warm-hearted
poor, as if the rich had not quite fair play, as it were as
if they were sent into the world chiefly for the sake of
the cultivation of the virtues of the poor, and without
much chance for the cultivation of their own. I knew
better than this you know, my reader ; but the thought
came, as thoughts will come sometimes. It vanished the
moment I sought to lay hands upon it, as if it knew quite
well it had no business there. But certainly I did be-
lieve that it was more like the truth to say the world was
made for the poor than to say that it was made for the
rich. And therefore I longed the more to do something
for these whom I considered the rich of my flock ; for it
was dreadful to think of their being poor inside instead
of outside.

Perhaps my reader will say, and say with justice, that
I ought to have been as anxious about poor Fanner
Brownrigg as about the beautiful lady. But the farmer
had given me good reason to hope some progress in him
after the way he had given in about Jane Rogers. Posi-
tively I had caught his eye during the sermon that very
day. And, besides but I will not be a hypocrite ; and
seeing I did not certainly take the same interest in Mr
Brownrigg, I will at least be honest and confess it. As
far as regards the discharge of my duties, I trust I should


have behaved impartially had the necessity for any choice
arisen. But my feelings were not quite under my own
control. And we are nowhere told to love everybody
alike, only to love every one who comes within our reach
as ourselves.

I wonder whether my old friend Dr Duncan was right.
He had served on shore in Egypt under General Aber-
crombie, and had of course, after the fighting was over
on each of the several occasions the French being
always repulsed exercised his office amongst the
wounded left on the field of battle. " I do not know,"
he said, " whether I did right or not ; but I always took
the man I came to first French or English." I only
know that my heart did not wait for the opinion of my
head on the matter. I loved the old man the more that
he did as he did. But as a question of casuistry, I am
doubtful about its answer.

This digression is, I fear, unpardonable.

I made Mrs Pearson sit down with me to dinner, for
Christmas Day was not one to dine alone upon. And I
have ever since had my servants to dine with me on
Christmas Day.

Then I went out again, and made another round of
visitSj coming in for a glass of wine at one table, an
orange at another, and a hot chestnut at a third. Those
whom I could not see that day, I saw on the following
days between it and the new year. And so ended my
Christmas holiday with my people.

But there is one little incident which I ought to relate


before I close this chapter, and which 1 am ashamed of
having so nearly forgotten.

When we had finished our dinner, and I was sitting
alone drinking a class of claret before going out again,
Mrs Pearson came in and told me that little Gerard
Weir wanted to see me. I asked her to show him in ;
and the little fellow entered, looking very shy, and cling-
ing first to the door and then to the wall

" Come, my dear boy," I said, " and sit down by me."

He came directly and stood before me.

" Would you like a little wine and water?" I said ; for
unhappily there was no dessert, Mrs Pearson knowing
that I never eat such things.

"No, thank you, sir; I never tasted wine."

I did not press him to take it.

" Please, sir," he went on after a pause, putting his
hand in his pocket, " mother gave me some goodies, and
I kept them till I saw you come back, and here they are,

Does any reader doubt what I did or said upon this ?

I said, '' Thank you, my darling," anil I ate them up
every one of them, that he might see me eat them before
he left the house. And the dear child went off radiant.

If anybody cannot understand why I did so, I beg
him to consider the matter. If then he cannot come to
a conclusion concerning it, I doubt if any explanation of
mine would greatly subserve his enlightenment. Mean-
time, I am forcibly restraining myself from yielding to
the temptation to set forth my reasons, which would re-


suit in a half-hour's sermon on the Jewish dispensation,
including the burnt offering, and the wave and heave
offerings, with an application to the ignorant nurses and
mothers of English babies, who do the best they can to
make original sin an actual fact by training children down
in the way they should not go.



|T will not appear strange that I should linger
so long upon the first few months of my
association with a people who, now that 1
am an old man, look to me like my own
children. For those who were then older than myself
are now "old dwellers in those high countries" where
there is no age, only wisdom ; and I shall soon go to
them. How glad I shall be to see my Old Rogers again,
who, as he taught me upon earth, will teach me yet
more, I thank my God, in heaven ! But I must not let

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